How to avoid the COVID kilos

How to avoid weight gain while you're stuck at home

Here are some tips from Lite n’ Easy dietitian Larissa Robbins that will help you combat the ‘’COVID creep’’ in the face of the coronavirus lockdown.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen the panic buying of toilet paper, pasta and rice, and thankfully that trend appears to be easing up. But many people have now moved onto breaking the boredom with baking. Cake mix is the latest item to go flying off the shelves. And although it’s great to find activities to do during the COVID quarantine, unfortunately, this new trend could be impacting our waistlines!


1. Swap the cakes, muffins and cookies for healthier home-made options

Commercially prepared cake mixes are generally loaded with fat, sugar and additives and contain very little in the way of healthy ingredients. They’re also high in calories. Try swapping to these healthier alternatives when baking at home:

  • Use avocado instead of butter
  • Swap some sugar for diced or pureed fruit
  • Use dark chocolate chunks instead of regular chocolate chips
  • Boost the fibre by adding oats to a cookie or muffin recipe
  • Use natural yoghurt instead of cream cheese
  • Add some veg like grated pumpkin or carrot to cakes or muffins


And remember, baked goods should be a treat, so make sure they’re not creeping in every day and be conscious of your portions.


2. Limit takeaways

With a lot of us confined to our homes at the moment, it can be tempting (and very easy) to cosy up on the couch and order some takeaway from UberEATS or Menulog. Evidence suggests that eating fast foods regularly can lead to weight gain. That’s because most take away food is high in kilojoules, saturated fat and salt, and some choices are also high in sugar. They also tend to be low in dietary fibre and other nutrients. An average takeaway meal provides around 700-1000 calories, which is almost half of an adult’s average daily energy intake. Have healthy meals prepared, so you’re not making an unhealthy decision last minute when you’re hungry. And try to limit takeaway to a maximum of once per week, choose healthier options that contain vegetables or salad and say no to up-sizing!


3. Don’t eat out of the bag

Snack and comfort food sales are soaring as people stay at home during the coronavirus crisis. Eating snacks straight out of the packet is a recipe for overeating. Instead, try portioning out your snacks into a small bowl or container. Aim to swap processed, packaged snacks such as chips and biscuits for healthier options like yoghurt, nuts, fruit or popcorn. And make sure you practice mindful eating. Sit down, away from the TV and really savour your snack.


4. Think twice about what you’re drinking

Juice, soft drinks, flavoured milks and alcohol all contribute excess calories and if consumed regularly can contribute to those extra kilos creeping on. Make sure you’re aware of any liquid calories slipping into your diet and instead swap to water, soda water, tea or black coffee.


5. Keep active

Aim to prioritise movement – schedule it in as a necessary part of your day and find activities that you enjoy. Exercise is essential for good mental health, as well as keeping those extra kilos off!


 At Lite n’ Easy, you can buy full meal plans, including breakfasts, lunches and dinners but there are also many other flexible options to suit your lifestyle. You could have dinners only or some smaller meals (such as the Mini MealsMeals in a Bowl and Lite Meals) to store in the freezer for the rest of the family.


Larissa Robbins is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with extensive experience working across Australia and the UK in the food industry, corporate health, hospitals and private practice. She specialises in the area of weight management, gastrointestinal disorders and chronic disease management. Larissa is passionate about helping people live their healthiest lives through the power of food and nutrition.